“Yesterday,” Stan began, “I admitted to you about my unpleasant tendency to whine and complain.”
“You did, Stan,” I responded. “And you mentioned there was another part of the story you want to talk about.”
“That’s right,” Stan said. “Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise in dire circumstances. The second part of the story is that the other prisoners were listening to them.”
“You can be pretty much assured that what the other prisoners heard had a real positive impact on them,” Stan said. “Here were two prisoners locked in stocks in a dark dingy prison, giving praise to God.”
Stan continued, “Equally true I think is that if Paul and Silas had been whining and complaining about their circumstances, the other prisoners would have been impacted negatively, thinking that they were no different than any other whiner or complainer.”
Continuing, Stan then said, “This example is, for me, an essential lesson in always being careful to present myself as a joyful, thankful, and Spirit-filled Christian regardless of my circumstances.”
“You’re right,” I responded. “We never know for certain who is listening. If I am complaining and whining, that does not present a very good picture of who I claim to be as a Christian.”
“Yes,” Stan said, “and in the opposite way, if I am praising God in difficult circumstances, it just may make a difference in another person’s perspective on what being a Christian is all about.”
“It may very well affect a person’s eternal destination, as well as his or her life on this side of eternity.”
“Amen,” Stan responded.
But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Acts of the Apostles 16:25.
Prayer: Lord, you bring me into circumstances and give me the opportunity to represent you well by praising you. Please forgive all of my failures to represent you well, to have missed the opportunity to make a difference in another person’s perspective of what it means to be a Christian. You know how much help I need with this. I ask you for all of the help you can provide. Help me, Lord, to be aware of always wanting to make a positive impact for you. Thank you I can and do bring all of these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.